NPAs raid, burn Lepanto PNP station, cyanide plant, equipment

>> Friday, June 16, 2017

MANKAYAN, Benguet – Communist guerrillas raided and burned a police outpost here Wednesday night including cyanide processing plant and mine equipment to protest operations of the Lepanto Consolidated and Mining Co. and Chinese businessmen doing business by running the plant.
A joint statement of the  Martin Montana Chadli Molintas Command, New People’s Army – Ilocos Cordillera Region and Sey-ang Rayos Jennifer ‘Maria’ Cariño Command, NPA – Benguet said they launched the raid around 10 p.m. to  midnight also against military, paramilitary and police forces who were reportedly serving as “security force” of the mining company.
The statement said the guerrillas also burned and exploded earth moving equipment at Tailings Dam 5A lime plant between barangays Colalo and Cabiten being used for quarrying.
Colalo folks have reportedly been protesting quarrying for fear their lands would erode again like what happened in 1999 when the mountain where the Colalo Elementary School stood eroded bringing houses along with it to the foot of the mountain. 
According to the statement, the LCMC “grabbed” hectares of lands of Colalo and Cabiten families so it would be able to build Tailings Dam 5A. 
Affected families reportedly protested but police and paramilitary elements dispersed them.
In April 2013, the NPA also burned drilling machines of LCMC in Colalo which were being used to build Tailings Dam 5B to increase area for mining operations  resulting to destruction of  around 400 hectares of ancestral land.
Drilling operations were stopped since folks of Barangays Bulalacao, Tabio and Balili held barricades and protest rallies for around a year.
Following this, the NPA reportedly burned equipment at Tailings Dam A and ambushed elements of the 81st IB stationed at the dam site.
Last Wednesday night the NPA reportedly burned the carbon-in-pulp (CIP) cyanide processing plant in Sitio Ampontoc, Barangay Colalo owned by barangay captain Ambino Padawi being operated by Chinese businessmen renting the plant.
A backhoe and other equipment used in the plant were reportedly also burned. 
According to the NPA, the CIP was reportedly installed over ancestral land allegedly “grabbed” by Ambino from a Colalo clan. 
The people of Colalo reportedly protested the “land-grabbing” by Ambino, who allegedly harassed and intimidated protesters.
The people said they wanted operations of the cyanide plant stopped as it was poisoning their drinking water.
Last Wednesday, after burning the cyanide plant, the NPA also burned the  Community Police Action Center that Ambino reportedly built near the plant.
The NPA warned state forces to stop being used as “security forces” of LCMC or they will conduct punitive actions like raids.

According to the revolutionary groups, the mining company had been destructive to the environment due to its mining operations which had adversely affected the people.   


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